Now graffiti artist Jamie Paul Scanlon has gifted some of his works to help fund Walsall's upcoming arts festival.
The artist, or JPS as he is known, has donated five rare signed prints of his paintings for auction on eBay.
It is a huge coup for the town as JPS continues to gain international recognition with street art that takes digs at everyone from Charlie Sheen to Spiderman.
Only five years ago he was a self-confessed 'homeless junkie' but he has used the experience to turn his life around.
Festival organiser Carolyn Bayliss watched a series of his paintings, created at a disused mental hospital in Norway, unfold on his Facebook page, and has been a fan of his work ever since.
It is where the images that form part of the auction were painted. Among them is the Balloon Girl which has become one of his most successful images and led some people to believe it was the work of Banksy himself.
The artist, based in Weston-Super-Mare, has produced work ranging in size from a 16ft image of an Alien to a painting as small as a 50p coin.
Carolyn Bayliss, who counts the artist as a friend, said he regards the world as his canvas, choosing familiar street furniture to give his artistic take on modern life. They include a Stella bottle painted on a lamp post and a policeman immortalised on the back of a wheelie bin.
The 50-year-old, who lives in Walsall town centre, said: "It is not just what he does, it is his placement that is so good. We became friends in 2012 and I've exhibited at one of his shows in Weston and he sent some of his works over for last year's Walsall Arts Fest. I can't thank him enough. He has been part of this from the beginning.
"The festival is bigger this year and has attracted some amazing sponsors."
The five pieces - including two of the clown image - are being auctioned along with a Launer London handbag, worth £1,000, which has been given a reserve price of £600.
The three-day contemporary art event called Three Days In November will be held at The Wheatsheaf pub in Birmingham Road on November 6-8, between midday and 6pm each day.
Other exhibitors will include Dale Grimshaw who will be creating a mural on a wall at the back of the pub over the the three days, while spoken-word artists perform alongside him on days two and three.
Inside the pub a 'wake' for England, centred around a coffin artwork laid out in an alcove and created by Carolyn Bayliss, will take place with members of the public invited to write what they would like to say goodbye to in a book of condolence which will be provided.
Other artists include Catherine Kaufman who specialises in soft sculptures and Wolverhampton University lecturer Paul McDonald who teaches creative writing.
The eBay auction ends on October 30.